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How does Power Five bias affect Group of Five NFL Draft prospects?

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There are a few examples that lead me to believe the G5 can be brushed aside.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As I was looking through NFL draft profiles of the players from my alma mater, I saw something that was truly disappointing. Instead of judging players based on their merits on the field, they are judged based on recruiting interest from Power Five programs. Under USF DT, Deadrin Senat’s strengths, his first strength listed was “initially a Florida State commit.”

Screenshot from https://www.nfl.com/prospects/deadrin-senat?id=32462018-0002-5598-1435-7f170a740bc1

I was obviously appalled by this as it’s another example of the divide between the P5 and the G5, despite some of the best players in the NFL coming from the G5 and FCS ranks. Despite all of Senat’s accomplishments at USF, the fact that a Power Five coach thought he was worthy of a scholarship coming out of high school outweighs anything Senat did while playing at the G5 level according to this NFL writer.

With this in mind, I decided to see how other blue-blood program players with similar stats compared to the G5 players. I will look at combine grades and draft projections so we can see if the G5 is being treated fairly.

Deadrin Senat (USF, DT) vs. Derrick Nnadi (FSU, DT)

Senat Career: 104 solo tackles, 74 assisted, 178 total, 23.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks (6 in 2017), 2 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles. Grade of 5.60, projected 4th or 5th round pick

Nnadi Career: 75 solo tackles, 90 assisted, 165 total, 24.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, (3.5 in 2017), 3 passes defended, and 3 forced fumbles. Grade of 5.74, projected 3rd or 4th round pick.

Looking at these numbers does not really show a whole lot of separation. In fact, I would argue that Senat had a better career and was much more disruptive in 2017. Why is he knocked back an entire round and their rankings separated by six spots with nearly identical stats? I call bias.

Trey Quinn (SMU, WR) vs. Auden Tate (FSU, WR)

Quinn Career: 136 receptions for 1,512 yards, 11.1 average, and 13 touchdowns. Grade of 5.20, projected 5-6 round pick.

Tate Career: 65 receptions for 957 yards, 14.7 average, and 16 touchdowns. Grade of 5.34, projected 4-5 round pick.

This one seems clearly obvious who you would take, right? The player who has proven he can take over in games and give his team a lift when needed. Quinn’s career numbers would have been even more impressive had he started his career at SMU instead of signing with LSU where he was not properly utilized. Quinn was statistically the better receiver last season, yet has a lower grade than a receiver who produced far less, likely because Tate played for a blue-blood program.

As you can see just from these select examples, there is some bias with the NFL scouts. Rashaad Penny, Mike Hughes, Genard Avery, Shaquem Griffin, and Quinton Flowers also could have been included on this list as other players who are being severely undervalued due to playing at the G5 level. NFL analysts clearly feel that the G5 is so inferior to the Power Five that players from a blue-blood program tend get the nod even when their production is vastly eclipsed by standout players at the G5 level.

However, there is still some great representation for the G5 and FCS in this draft class. Many of the players we had the pleasure of watching will now move on to the next level to show that they were the most undervalued prospects in the draft.

Overall, what do you think? Do you feel G5 prospects are undercut just because they did not play for blue-blood programs? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section and weigh in on the poll below.

Poll

Do you believe superior G5 players get looked over for inferior P5 players?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Absolutely!
    (35 votes)
  • 6%
    No.
    (3 votes)
  • 19%
    Sometimes. Depends on the situation.
    (9 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now